Here’s another installment in a series of emails that took place between Michael and one of his senior students beginning the Summer of 2009. May you find the exchange interesting and enriching.
December 14, 2010
Student: Where there is love, there can be no fear, right?
Michael: I’d agree with that statement as long as the kind of love we’re talking about has no ego mixed in with it. In other words, negotiated love is “small love” while the kind of love that isn’t negotiated but rather an infinite opening is what we can call “Big Love.”
Student: Okay. So fear can not exist in “Big Love” since this infinite opening embraces and absorbs any kind of fear as itself. Right?
Michael: That works. I actually like that. Most of us can recognize that “small love” is most often right next to fear. We’re always afraid of losing it. We’re always afraid of not being worthy of another’s feelings for us. We’re always afraid that we might miss the offering. The perfect example of this would be romantic love that is so often fueled by the panic of its loss. This isn’t to say that romantic love is bad. It’s great. It’s juicy and reminds us of how cool it is to be alive. But when we’re caught by it’s pull, suffering is born, and the seeds to its’ demise are sown.
Big Love, on the other hand, undermines the very source of fear. It does this by shining an unmistakeable singularity into and through any perceived division. This is why your words, “it embraces and absorbs it as itself,” works so nicely.
Student: So with all that in mind, what can you say about instincts from a worldly versus an Ultimate perspective?
Michael: It’s a good question in that the integration of worldly and Ultimate perspectives are at the core of any authentic spiritual practice.
Breaking it down, instinct is a biological response to stimuli. Enlightenment is appropriate response to instinct. Instinct involves matter & body. Enlightenment involves soul breaking itself apart as the conscious componentry of Spirit. Instinct, on the other hand, is the body-mind’s reaction to life’s offering at any given moment.
Student: And enlightenment?
Michael: We can look at enlightenment as a continual response of conscious of generosity. And this is cool, wouldn’t you say?